- Obama ‘cavalier’ in hiding foreign aid order, judge rules
- Prince Charles: Muslims are driving Christians from Mideast through persecution
- Gitmo’s first commander: Close the prison down
- Google’s newest photography find: Just wink and shoot
- Detroit’s Heidelberg art project hit by 8 fires in 8 months
- Pa. police pull people over for random DNA tests for feds
- NASA pushing hard to get back into space game
- Harvard student to face federal charges for bomb hoax
- Ronnie Biggs of ‘Great Train Robbery’ fame dies, 84
- Pope Francis wins another ‘Person of the Year’ — from gay rights magazine
New gov’t rules allow unapproved iPhone apps
WASHINGTON (AP) - Owners of the iPhone will be able to legally unlock their devices so they can run software applications that haven’t been approved by Apple Inc., according to new government rules announced Monday.
The decision to allow the practice commonly known as “jailbreaking” is one of a handful of new exemptions from a 1998 federal law that prohibits people from bypassing technical measures that companies put on their products to prevent unauthorized use of copyright-protected material. The Library of Congress, which oversees the Copyright Office, reviews and authorizes exemptions every three years to ensure that the law does not prevent certain non-infringing uses of copyright-protected works.
For iPhone jailbreakers, the new rules effectively legitimize a practice that has been operating in a legal gray area by exempting it from liability. Apple claims that jailbreaking is an unauthorized modification of its software.
Mario Ciabarra, founder of Rock Your Phone, which calls itself an “independent iPhone application store,” said the rules mark the first step toward opening the iPhone app market to competition and removing the “handcuffs” that Apple imposes on developers that want to reach users of the wildly popular device.
Unless users unlock their handsets, they can only download apps from Apple’s iTunes store. Software developers must get such apps pre-approved by Apple, which sometimes demands changes or rejects programs for what developers say are vague reasons.
Ciabarra noted that Google Inc. has taken a different approach with its Android operating system, which is emerging as the biggest competitor to the iPhone. Google allows users of Android phones to download applications from outside the Android Market.
Although Apple has never prosecuted anyone for jailbreaking, it does use software upgrades to disable jailbroken phones, and the new government rules won’t put a stop to that. That means owners of such phones might not be able to take advantage of software improvements, and they still run the risk of voiding their warranty.
Apple spokesman Natalie Kerris said Monday that the company is concerned about jailbreaking because the practice can make an iPhone unstable and unreliable.
“Apple’s goal has always been to ensure that our customers have a great experience with their iPhone, and we know that jailbreaking can severely degrade the experience,” she said.
In addition to jailbreaking, other exemptions announced Monday would:
_ allow owners of used cell phones to break access controls on their phones in order to switch wireless carriers.
_ allow people to break technical protections on video games to investigate or correct security flaws.
_ allow college professors, film students, documentary filmmakers and producers of noncommercial videos to break copy-protection measures on DVDs so they can embed clips for educational purposes, criticism or commentary.
_ allow computer owners to bypass the need for external security devices called dongles if the dongle no longer works and cannot be replaced.
_ allow blind people to break locks on electronic books so that they can use them with read-aloud software and similar aides.
By John R. Bolton
The president fiddles at his domestic altar while the world burns
- U.S. Army mulls wiping out memory of Robert E. Lee, 'Stonewall' Jackson
- We told you so: Conservatives foresaw polygamy ruling
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- EDITORIAL: Al Gore, soothsayer
- Top Democrats reject court ruling over NSA spying on Americans
- HURT: D.C. gets the vapors, calls sequester too much
- Obama mocks Putin, picks gay athletes for Sochi delegation
- IRS pays tax cheats hundreds of millions of dollars
- Army to cut up to 4,000 captains and majors
- Rush weighs in: Maybe Republicans dont dislike Obamacare
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
A libertarian look at breaking news and political trends by author Tom Mullen.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
Southern Fried Politics from the Lens of a Persian-American Millennial
Wall Street news for retail investors who want to know what's going on.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow